Links 12/20/10

Fat New Zealanders failing to fit coffins Telegraph (hat tip reader Martin W)

Space laser spies for woodpeckers BBC

Mutant worms defy aging theory CBC News

Three Billion-Year-Old Genomic Fossils Deciphered ScienceDaily (hat tip reader John M)

US Army smartphone war draws closer Mobile.Blorge (hat tip reader Sugar Hush)

Blaschko’s Lines ScienceBlogs (hat tip Richard Smith)

Serious Mental Health Needs Seen Growing at Colleges New York Times. Notice the failure to consider broader social issues as contributors to the rise in mental health problems.

All Japan wants for Christmas is Kentucky Fried Chicken Financial Times

Why don’t Britain’s rich give to charity like wealthy Americans? Daily Mail (hat tip reader May S)

Room at the inn for bloggers in need Lambert Strether. Some bloggers are really hard up! I hope some of you will add them to your Christmas list.

51 million, mostly lower-income, will do worse under new tax law Consumer Reports (hat tip reader May S)

Max Blumenthal, The Great Fear Tom Engelhardt

Is a catchy title really the best means of safeguarding nuclear security? Guardian (hat tip Richard Smith)

European financials see dollar funding gap widen Financial Times. Will the Fed need to use currency swap lines again? Ron Paul will NOT be happy!

Berlin’s goal is limited liability Wolfgang Munchau, Financial Times

Self-righteous Germany must accept a euro-debt union or leave EMU Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

Irish bail-out’s unintended consequences John Dizard, Financial Times. This is an unbelievable screw up, and if I were not about to do a face plant, I’d post on this. I’m also stunned at the lack of commentary elsewhere.

Man Arrested For Threatening To Blow Up Bank NBCConnecticut (hat tip reader Scott)

2011 Bespoke Roundtable Q&A with Michael Panzner of Financial Armageddon Bespoke Financial (hat tip reader Scott)

When Zombies Win Paul Krugman

Ha-Joon Chang in conversation with Tony Curzon Price on “23 Things they don’t tell you about capitalism”, students, strikes and legitimacy as a public good OpenEconomy (hat tip reader May S

Understanding and Forecasting the Credit Cycle—Why the Mainstream Paradigm in Economics and Finance Collapsed Richard A. Werner QFinance (hat tip Richard Smith)

Antidote du jour:

Screen shot 2010-12-20 at 5.12.45 AM

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  1. Foppe

    Can anyone explain to me what Pritchard means when he writes “It beggars belief that the ECB should continue to allow the contraction of the M3 money supply and credit to private firms.”?
    It is not at all clear to me why this is the case, or why it matters.

  2. Ignim Brites

    PK (When Zombies Win) just lives in another universe. Rather than wasting time criticizing the ideas political successful he should be working to inspire those disposed to his universe to work for the secession of New York and New England. Then in a nation of well educated his ideas can triumph.

    1. eric anderson

      I love your snark. Mish gave Krugman a serious beating yesterday. Certain political species have become mentally unhinged at the prospect of a different philosophy coming into vogue.

      1. Anonymous Jones

        You should write about your existence. I’m so interested in what the rules of reality are in your world. Fascinating to read every week. I can’t even imagine what the color of the sky is. Is it like Pandora? I hope more interesting…

        BTW, deflection and misdirection are not really elegant arguments. Just adding the word asininity does not make something a “beating.” At least in the world I live.

  3. divad

    Completely agree on the mental health article, the social and economic factors are never discussed. It’s like treating someone with lead poisoning with a pill and/or counselling instead of removing the source of the lead poisoning. really sickens me.

  4. Externality

    The article on mental health omits the corrosive effect of encouraging students to report each other to the university, police, or mental health agencies. The university is desensitizing people to the practice of informing on one another and is making it difficult for students to trust each other.

    An overzealous or malicious student could easily cause, for example, classmates to be “escorted” for mental health treatment. In many states, even a brief involuntary psychiatric “intervention” can make it difficult or impossible for the person to obtain a professional license as a doctor or lawyer, work in other sensitive fields (e.g., law enforcement), own a firearm, etc.

    This tendency seems to be spreading in our society. From the Washington Post:

    The FBI is building a database with the names and certain personal information, such as employment history, of thousands of U.S. citizens and residents whom a local police officer or a fellow citizen believed to be acting suspiciously. It is accessible to an increasing number of local law enforcement and military criminal investigators, increasing concerns that it could somehow end up in the public domain.

    (emphasis added)

  5. Macro1

    I’m sort of surprised that so few sites seem interested in the WaPo story. I’m beginning to think that absolutely nothing having to do with government surveillance is considered scandalous anymore, nor will anybody ever scale any of this back (I didn’t expect Congress to ever do so, but I doubt that even the Courts will bother anymore)

  6. eric anderson

    This could be America’s growth industry, if you’ll pardon the pun: perhaps we could become the world leader in the manufacture of oversize coffins. God knows our own population will need them. Not to mention the other “expanding” populations of the West.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Without competition for food, we Homo Not-So-Sapiens Not-So-Sapiens are eveolving like the dinosaurs did, getting bigger and bigger.

      It will take a collision with a comet to reverse this, judging by history, or prehistory, in this case.

  7. Doug Terpstra

    Richard Werner’s “Understanding…the Credit Cycle” and his book, “New Paradigm in Macroeconomics” shows why banking must (and eventually will) become a well-regulated public utility.

    “…the current crisis has demonstrated that we can’t expect banks’ credit decisions to be in any way beneficial to the overall economy…or even the bankers themselves —-as Alan Greenspan has now admitted. The incentive structure at banks is such that they tend to create too much credit, when not needed, and for unproductive use…followed by…creating too little money, when more would be needed.”

    As the Black Agenda Report put it in “Obama-Trauma” —“…some things are certain. The ever-quickening pace of finance capital’s unraveling is creating multiple, overlapping crises that will be insoluble precisely because Wall Street wields decisive power over the political process. The very fact of bankster hegemony prevents other forces from saving Wall Street from itself.”

    Were it not for Obama’s “capitulation”, the system might have been able to limp its way through another decade or more of ruination, but it now hastens toward its ultimate end.

  8. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Mutant worms and aging theory, hmmm….

    If today’s Monday, it must mean antioxidants will shorten your lifespan.

    Tomorrow, you will learn coffee is bad for you.

    On Wednedsay, you will find that coffee is actually good for you.

    By this weekend, they will say free radicals are both bad and good, depending on which medicine man you go to.

    We have come a long way from the Paleolithic Age.

  9. Matthew

    Again surprised that Naked Capitalism although consistantly including links to articles in support of the Alarmist side of the Global Warming debate, seems equally consistant in never posting the sceptic side (which should be part of any honest intellectual discourse).

    My recommendation for today is an editorial by the Mayor of London in the context of the European cold snap, Boris Johnson who is saying some things not heard very often in England:

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      The skeptic side is bunk.

      “No scientific body of national or international standing has maintained a dissenting opinion; the last was the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, which in 2007 updated its 1999 statement rejecting the likelihood of human influence on recent climate with its current non-committal position.”

      In other words, even a group with an obvious partisan interest is merely agnostic on this topic.

      1. F. Beard

        The Earth is quite dangerous,
        the Universe too;
        for many dangers there’s
        nothing to do
        (If there’s no God,
        we’re simply screwed).

        But with CO2
        it’s simple indeed:
        No burning of carbon
        and please do not breath.

      2. Ignim Brites

        I would feel more comfortable if this pronouncement or something similar were issued by a judicial body, preferably the Supreme Count of the US, or possibly the World Court.

  10. f247

    Just passing along…

    Bank of America, Lenders Subject to New Jersey Court Order

    By David Voreacos
    Dec. 20 (Bloomberg) — Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan
    Chase & Co. and four other mortgage lenders were ordered by a New Jersey judge to show by Jan. 19 that their mortgage
    foreclosure obligations should not be suspended because of
    The action, announced today by New Jersey Supreme Court
    Chief Justice Stuart Rabner, also covers Citigroup Inc.’s
    mortgage unit, Ally Financial Inc.’s GMAC mortgage unit, OneWest Bank and Wells Fargo & Co.

  11. Sundog

    Just for fun, let’s substitute for “Taliban” Mexican organizations which fund themselves to some extent by supplying illicit drugs to foreign and domestic markets, and which are extensively engaged in kidnapping, protection rackets, distributing “counterfeit” goods, tapping PEMEX resources, corrupting everyone with a peso to spare and are contesting the legitimacy of the State.

    Some argue that the Taliban are about to change and possibly get more radical as a result of the war. Do you agree?

    You can see it in terms of their tactics in the number of beheadings. That would not have happened before. It is the same in terms of their attitude to authority, killing elders for example, and also talking back to Quetta [PRI], the senior leadership, in not being completely subservient to them.

    You see it in the general fragmentation also: the Taliban shadow governor in Kandahar [Juarez] city doesn’t have control over all Taliban groups any more. A lot of civilian killings in the city aren’t ordered from Quetta. They often comes from small groups. Some may be pushed by Pakistan. But you have a lot more voices now than before.

    What does that mean for the months ahead?

    The worry, of course, is that all of these things may eventually lead to a sort of Taliban that will look more to an international ‘jihad’ [bizness] with younger people in charge on the side of the insurgency, who have only lived in conflict and war, and who don’t even remember the old Afghanistan, or the meaning of peace, from before the Soviet War.

    Martin Gerner interviews Alex Strick van Linschoten, “View from Kandahar: “Petraeus believes in military victory””,,6346567,00.html

  12. Alexis Shariat

    Hey, I really enjoyed this thread. There are a lot of great comments here. I am going to do a little studying on this and stop back and contribute something.

    I will be checking back soon to review more articles like this and this site as well.

    In the meantime…. Stay blogging!

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